Wind-damaged structures and trees

Wind Damaged Structures/Trees
Check the exterior of buildings for damage:
Make sure the building is not in danger of collapsing. Look for bulges, sways, leaning walls and sagging
roof lines.
Check the roof as it is a very good indicator of the presence of structural damage. See if the ridge is
straight (this is best viewed from a distance). If the ridge sags on the ends or in the middle, the loadbearing walls have shifted.
Check the walls to verify that they are vertical and straight. This can be done by eye or with a carpenter's
Check the structure where it meets the foundation. The plate should not be separated from the studding
where the foundation meets the walls. On block foundations, inspect mortar joints to make sure the
block with the plate bolt in it hasn't separated from the wall. On stone or concrete foundations, check to
see that the plate bolts have not worked loose.
Check for cracks in masonry exteriors of the building. Look near the corners of the structures and under
and around doors and windows.
If any of these indicators of structural damage are observed, call a professional contractor, architect or
Whenever possible use a dry stick to open panel doors
and throw switches.
Assess the interior damage to buildings:
Turn off any outside gas lines at the meter or tank.
Turn off the main electrical breaker until safe conditions are established. Even if power is out in your
area, disconnect the main switch, fuse or circuit breaker. Use extreme caution in wet, storm-damaged
areas. Stand in a dry spot when turning off electricity. If you have to step in water to get to the circuit or
fuse box, call an electrician. Whenever possible use a dry stick to open panel doors and throw switches.
Do not smoke or use a flame as a light source when first entering a damaged building.
Check for sagging ceilings. Wet insulation and pocketed water can cause ceilings to fall.
Check the framing. Look for ridge separation, loose knee braces and loose rafters where the rafters join
the walls.
Inspect roofs for damage:
Before getting onto a roof, inspect the rafters for breaks and sags.
Check for damaged or missing shingles. Check asphalt shingles for cracks at the butt end, where they
may have been weakened from flexing. Make sure individual shingles have not blown off. Thoroughly
inspect shingles on the ridge, gable ends, and eaves.
On metal roofing, inspect the entire roof, especially the gable ends, eaves and ridge cap, for loose nails.
If nails have worked loose, renail them as soon as possible. If nails won't hold when hammered back in,
use #12 or #14 metal screws to fill old nail holes (use aluminum screws on aluminum and steel screws
on steel). Renail 3 to 4 inches away with ring or screw-type nails.
On a sunny day, check for potential leaks from inside the building with the doors closed. While looking
for holes in the roof, inspect the ridge, gable ends, and eaves for possible structural separation.
Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. Don't be in a hurry to settle your claim, however.
Make certain that all damages and repairs have been identified.
Check all silo structures:
Make sure the structure remains plumb.
Look for loose hoops and inspect the roof to be sure it remains fastened to silo.
Inspect the base of metal silos inside and outside for hairline cracks. If there is rust around the base,
remove it with a wire brush. Then check for cracks and apply a rust preventive paint.
Look for new cracks in the plaster of empty concrete stave silos.
Make temporary repairs as needed:
Allow only a physically able person to go up on the roof. If the roof is sagging from structural damage,
wait for a professional. A sagging roof may collapse.
Cover holes in the roof with boards, tarps, or plastic sheeting. If possible, place tarps or plastic around
the ridge so rain rolls off. Secure plastic sheets or trash bags with strips of wood and fasten them down
with duct tape. If the holes are large, support the plastic in the center to keep it from ripping from the
weight of rain.
Cover holes in the walls or broken widows with tarps or plastic.
Produced by Communication and Educational Technology Services, University of Minnesota Extension Service.
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